Many people have heard of TEFL and toyed with the idea of moving abroad for a gap year or maybe even starting a new life. In the end far fewer actually do it, so what’s stopping them? Here we present 10 good reasons (in no particular order) for moving abroad and studying TEFL.
Sick of working in an office? Doing 9am-5pm drudgery every day? Eating the same cheese and ham sandwich for lunch? If you study TEFL and become an English teacher you can cut your working hours in half (only 4 hours a day!) or you can enjoy the flexibility of doing business classes and moving from client to client. Maybe sushi could become the norm for lunch? Or tapas?
Imagine you could sun yourself on the beach every day then work for 4 hours in the evening. It’s possible in Barcelona and all over the Mediterranean! As well as Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, India and Thailand, to name a few. Your friends might own a house back home and in absolute terms earn more than you, but who cares, you have a nice flat and can go to the beach for 7 months of the year!
It’s not all about me me me! There are many charities working in the developing world that need English teachers to help teach English and work on community projects. Teaching children English equips them with another skill and gives them better opportunities for the future. Organisations such as GVI set up English teaching posts in a large number of developing countries.
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – English is the universally accepted global language and everyone wants to speak it. We were lucky enough to be born in a country where English is the first language,, so there is always work available. Even if you don’t fancy living abroad but want to continue teaching English you could still work in your home country. Thousands of people go to English speaking countries to find a teacher and learn to speak English.
Taking a year or two out to learn TEFL and teach English looks fantastic on a CV. It shows that you are outgoing, motivated, confident, open-minded and patient. In some cases it can also show employers that you have got your adventure streak out of your system and you’re ready to ‘get serious’ and settle into a different job. The same applies for university applicants and international experience is highly valued by many employers.
Money is what makes the world go round, right? Well not quite, but it certainly helps. While it’s true that you won’t make as much money as in your home country (e.g. US / UK), as a teacher in a foreign country you almost invariably earn above the average for that country. In Spain they have a term known as ‘mileurista‘ which roughly translates as ‘someone who earns 1000 euros a month’, and is widely used as that is the national average. As a teacher you will earn considerably more.
Moving further afield to places such as Dubai, Japan and South Korea teachers are known to enjoy tax-free wages and a very high standard of living.
For many people it’s top of their list of ‘things to do before you die’. So go and do it! The best way to learn a language is by going to a country that speaks that language and immersing yourself. Studying TEFL allows you to move to any other country and find work without being able to speak the native language. Be warned though, learning a language takes time and effort and won’t just ‘happen’ because you are in that country. It is very easy to slip into the expat lifestyle and only hang out with other English speakers.
New country, new culture. We’re all human and all want and need the same basic things, but we all go about it in a different way. Naps in the afternoon? Shaking your head to mean yes? Showing up half an hour late as standard? Putting squid on a sandwich? These and a million other things are considered normal in many different countries!
You never know who you will meet or what you will end up doing when you work abroad. Maybe your original plan was to take a year out in Spain before moving back to the UK. Maybe you had no experience but it turns out you were an excellent English teacher and loved it. Maybe you decided to test out your new skill further afield in South Korea. Then maybe you met a nice Korean girl and decided to settle there. Then maybe you started working for a Korean multinational doing some job you never thought you would do….. get the idea? Anything is possible!
Teaching someone something is highly rewarding. It will give you a great feeling of satisfaction when the students pay attention to you and actually remember and repeat something you taught them. It is rewarding to monitor a student’s progress over the months and watch them develop, knowing that your input was worthwhile. It’s also rewarding to have a class of 6 year olds stop shouting for a second, listen to what you say and repeat it!
If you want to take the leap and become an English teacher, check out our TEFL courses in Barcelona!